From “Cruel Hookah” to “Cruel Hooker”: A Cross-Cultural Conversation in Poetry

In Guest Contributors by Guest Contributor

By Christopher Merrill IOWA CITY: The book Seven Poets Four Days One Book was an experiment to see what would happen if poets from different lands, languages, and generations tried to write together. The possibilities for failure seemed limitless — which perversely appealed to me. For it has been my experience that the least promising material may sometimes yield the …

STM Publishers Face Some Old, Some New Challenges, Especially the Bugaboo of “Free”

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By Richard Lampert At first glance, STM publishing (Scientific Technical Medical publishing) resembles most other segments of the book publishing industry. It’s still dominated by commercial publishing companies plus a few scholarly houses, and new titles still appear at regular intervals supported by marketing to the book trade, individuals, and institutions. And the familiar challenges are there as well — …

If New Media is a Giant Killer, Will Independent Publishing Get the Golden Eggs?

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Editorial by Andy Hunter In these stormy times, large publishers are jettisoning everything they can in order to lighten their sinking ships. What are they tossing overboard? Among other things, promising authors who haven’t found an audience, as well as anything too literary, difficult, or narrow in appeal. As Random House clings to the desperately inflated Dan Brown, hoping a …

What Does a Book Ad Cost? And Who’s Gonna Pay?

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By Chris Artis In 1966, Jacqueline Susann’s tireless and often shameless promotional efforts for her classic best-seller Valley of the Dolls “created a new way of selling a novel” in the words of legendary Simon and Schuster Editor Michael Korda. Indeed, they helped propel it to the top position on bestseller lists around the world. Still, decades later, publishers generally maintain …

No Truth in Travel

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By James E. McWilliams AUSTIN, TEXAS: When news arrived that I’d received a modest advance for a book I was writing on global agriculture — published this month as Just Food: Where Locavores Get It Wrong And How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly by Little, Brown in the USA — my first thought was: “Where’s my passport?!?!” With the upfront …

Focus-Grouped Thoughts on the Branded Page

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By James P. Othmer MAHOPAC, NEW YORK: Writing this sentence is a brazen, deliberate and irrevocable act of branding. Trust me, before it (and all subsequent vowels and consonants below) was written, it was parsed, focus-grouped and post-mortemed by twelve angry, bookish consumers on the shiny side of a two-way mirror in Teaneck, New Jersey.  To wit, they were asked: …

Re-thinking the Publisher/Author Partnership

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By Robert Miller NEW YORK: I’ve just read M.J. Rose’s editorial from last Friday, “Publishers Must Change the Way Authors Get Paid,” and I couldn’t agree more that it’s time to re-think the publisher/author relationship.  M.J. deserves credit for moving this conversation forward; indeed, for years M.J. has shown by her own example how authors can and should be full …

Publishers Must Change the Way Authors Get Paid

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Editorial by M.J. Rose Shout it from the rooftops, or better yet, hashtag it on Twitter. It’s time to turn the page on how authors get paid. Times have changed, and with them, every aspect of the publishing landscape is morphing. And from my vantage point, nowhere is it changing more than in marketing. Authors aren’t waiting and watching to …

Why Bangkok?

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By Timothy Hallinan BANGKOK: Well, as a place to live, it is undoubtedly the most cheerful big city on earth. The Thai people somehow ingest the heat, the gasoline fumes, the permanent Gordian knot of traffic, the heartbreaking poverty, and through some form of internal alchemy turn it into broad, beautiful smiles and almost infinite compassion for the befuddled, sweating …